I wish there was an individual who could let Governments know that the current procurement procedures are comic, and agreements and contracts awarded are to be followed religiously to the later, that you cannot wake up and just decide to alter something that two parties have agreed upon even if one group was drunk or unprepared when the signing took place.
A nation should obey its laws and keep to agreements. When they start attacking these, they gradually slip into lawlessness and chaos and instability.
There should be continuity of economic policies, there should be continuity of capital projects, and there should also be continuity and predictability in the economic sphere . At the same time, procurement and award of contract is not the sole belongings of one man. Whoever that maybe.
The reason most foreign organizations may shy away from coming to invest in Nigeria is because they have no idea what to expect or whether contracts will be respected or whether policies will be altered the moment power shifts hands or even whether signed contracts are truly valid.
To some leaders, it seems to them that decisions at the executive level is the sole responsibility and business and problem of whoever is there, without realizing that whatever comes out of there, the entire nation is roped together in it. So if Mr A makes a decision and leaves, Mr B can undo it since he wasn’t the one who directly took the action. Unfortunately that’s not how the international community sees it.
It would be very difficult for any international body to take us seriously if we can’t keep to simple agreements.
Economic decisions are being made with political minds and thoughts. Decisions are made or unmade based on political interest or perceived interest.
You may be wondering where this is coming from, I myself I’m wondering too.
I’m probably as lost and confused as anybody is at the moment .
Few days ago, it was announced that Nigeria had lost about $9 billion to an Irish firm simply because we couldn’t keep our own part of an agreement ,if really it was an agreement . It’s difficult to blame a specific individual for this because when and how this contract was signed is shrouded in mystery. A few suggests it was signed at the time the late President Musa Yar’adua was in coma . Whoever signed it! Anyway, I don’t believe in ghosts. According to Reuters –
“A judge in London said on Friday he would grant a firm called Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID) the right to seek to seize some $9 billion in assets from the Nigerian government over an aborted gas project.
The company was awarded $6.6 billion in an arbitration decision over a failed project to build a gas processing plant in the southern Nigerian city of Calabar. With interest payments, the sum now tops $9 billion – some 20% of Nigeria’s foreign reserves
The judge’s decision, issued on Friday, converts the arbitration award to a legal judgement, which would allow P&ID to try to seize international assets.”
It’s not so difficult to understand why the government would want bail out of an agreement of such magnitude considering how the contract was awarded.
I don’t want to make assumptions as to why, but according to the Minister of Information :
“We want to place on record that the Federal Government views with serious concerns the underhand manner the contract was negotiated and signed. “Indications are that the whole process was carried out by some vested interests in the past administration, which apparently colluded with their local and international conspirators to inflict grave economic injury on Nigeria and its people.
“In view of the above, and in an attempt to unravel the circumstances surrounding the entire transaction, the Attorney-General of the Federation, with the approval of Mr President, has requested the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, and the Inspector General of Police, IGP, to conduct a thorough investigation into the company, the circumstances surrounding the agreement and the subsequent event, which includes commencing a full-scale criminal investigation.”
As the whole process continues to unfold, I still hope and pray that the nation would come out triumphantly, somehow.
Remember that Nigeria had lost a case to Cameroon in a 2002 ICJ ruling leading to the forfeiture of Bakassi Peninsula as a result of an agreement the Government of the day signed with the Cameroonian government during the civil war.
One thing the Government and people in power should recognize is that the International community expect agreements and laws to be respected and obeyed . They may not be interested in your internal political folklore , riddles and ghost stories.